Snohomish County Tribune Newspapers
Food banks can use items to complement what’s on offer
SNOHOMISH COUNTY – Although fewer people visit food banks compared to last year, the need is still there. Because donations increase and fewer people come, food banks in the area are donating more food to customers per trip.
The number of visitors increased in 2020, but declined by 10 to 20 percent at food banks in the region this year. The Snohomish Food Bank, for example, served 605 households in June, up from 758 households in 2020 the same month.
Federal benefits help keep people afloat. Some food bank managers encourage people to save money and rely on food banks to stock in-home pantries.
“We are calling to register and people are saying they are making more money out of unemployment than they would if they were employed,” said Elizabeth Durand, director of the Snohomish Community Food Bank on Ferguson Road.
In addition to food stamps, eligible families with children in public schools receive additional “EBT Pandemic” money on food stamp cards. The last “P-EBT” deposit took place this summer.
The pandemic has also prompted federal and state governments to increase food support, but what food banks receive is almost like a potluck: in addition to staples like juice, rice, and beans, a week , one food bank can get pallets of canned peaches, the next it can be avocados.
Food banks rely on public donations to fill the gaps.
Money is always king. Food banks can stretch their dollars to restock shelves and ensure variety.
“We are constantly buying milk and dairy products,” said Chris Hatch, who oversees hunger prevention for the Volunteers of America Western Washington. Others report the same.
Fresh produce from the vegetable garden is accepted with pleasure in your garden. Monroe’s Sky Valley Food Bank, for example, offers fresh vegetables picked about a day ago from their nearby garden.
Maltby’s food bank can use tuna, Hamburger Helper and pet food, its manager Natalie Oswald said.
All food banks appreciate women’s products, paper products and bathroom products as donations. Hatch noted that the VOA Everett Food Bank also takes diapers and pet food.
Imagine making yourself a quesadilla in the microwave: where’s the cheese? Where’s the meat? Where are the vegetables? Where’s the tortilla? All are necessary ingredients, what food banks mean by “supplementing” the supply.
A good donation is all another family would eat, said Durand.
Canned soups, individual snacks, canned meats, and canned vegetables are still popular. Before doing so, just be sure to check the expiration dates. Food banks often “save” bread and pastries from grocery stores.
“We rely on what people donate at food drives to supplement what’s on our shelves to provide variety,” said Sky Valley Executive Director Carla Stewart.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people get food from food banks.
Snohomish Food Bank asks people to mark lists of what they want and volunteers take out the order.
At the Sky Valley Food Bank in Monroe, the food is arranged on tables that people can choose for themselves. “When COVID first hit, we started delivering right to people’s doors,” said Stewart. “Then it became too difficult to make the deliveries, so we drove. The food bank adjusted again to the foreign market system this spring.
Volunteers of America’s Everett Food Bank at 1230 Broadway performs a similar outdoor distribution.
The Maltby Food Bank at 21104 86th Ave. SE, prefers people to use an appointment system (www.maltbyfoodbank.org/order/) to avoid queues at the door.
All can use volunteers for specific tasks, such as going to grocery stores to get food.
The Everett Food Bank will soon begin a complete renovation that will provide enough space for people to shop inside. He plans to expand where the VOA food storage warehouse was located (the warehouse has moved to Arlington.) Hatch is hoping it could be done before the cold winter arrives, but the bank food relies on donations from the community.
“We have this opportunity to grow and look like a real grocery store,” Hatch said hopefully.
The Sky Valley Food Bank is also looking to grow with a big remodel. The next step for them is to find a contractor, Stewart said in mid-July.
Times when the public can feed:
Snohomish Community Food Bank, 1330 Feguson Road: Tuesdays 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Go up to the tent at the front of the building. The Snohomish Food Bank also has a bookmobile tour program.
Sky Valley Food Bank in Monroe, 233 Sky River Parkway: Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Sky Valley Food Bank also has coupons for gasoline, overdue utility bills, and eyeglasses.
The Rock Church in Monroe, 16891 146th St, SE: Wednesdays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., drive-thru; and Fridays, from 4:15 p.m.
Everett VOA Food Bank, 1230 Broadway: Mondays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 2nd and 4th Tuesday: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Services also available at two locations on Casino Road, see www.voaww.org/locations or call 425-259-3191.
Maltby Food Bank: Pick-up between noon and 2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays; email [email protected] or call 360-668-7900. Masks are mandatory inside; masks available for those who do not have one.
Generally speaking, food banks are loosening geographic restrictions on who can get food. Their goal is to feed people.
Note: The Snohomish Food Bank has a proxy program to send a friend 16 or older to shop for the family. Delivery services are available for the elderly and the disabled.
Public donation schedules:
Snohomish Community Food Bank: Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Sky Valley Food Bank: Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
(Distribution to The Rock Church) Provide Hope Shannon Hill Coordinator: [email protected] or [email protected]
Everett Food Bank: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday. Deliver food in the lane parallel to Broadway just off of 12th.
Maltby Food Bank: Call 425-668-7900.
To donate money for VOA Remodeling, specify that your donation is for “Everett Food Bank Remodeling”.
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